Food Fight

What is it with kids and food?  When they’re tiny, they’re little milk monsters, barely going a few hours without wanting more.  Then they start to wean and everything’s fair game.  Turn your back for a split second and they’ll swipe that olive from your plate.  Then something happens and they become fussy.  Why?

With Bunny we did a little bit of baby-led weaning, but did feed her baby rice and some jar food and pureed bits I’d prepared for her.  But I enjoyed letting her play with the texture of food and exploring the tastes.  Unfortunately, I also believed the idea that if she ate more, she’d sleep better, so desperately tried to feed her lots of food (bananas were always a good bet, if messy!) in the vain hope she would sleep through the night.  She didn’t.  And now I know better, thankfully.

Baby eating pasta in tomato sauce

Bunny enjoys some pasta in tomato sauce as a baby

As a weaning baby, she ate anything and enjoyed everything.  I was one of those mothers with good intentions who vowed to avoid giving her sweets or sugary items for as long as possible.  Unfortunately, she quickly cottoned onto the fact that the cake I was eating, or chocolate bar I was munching were probably quite tasty and made sure I shared them with her.  We managed to avoid any drinks other than water until she was old enough to share her own drinks with friends and then discovered squash and fruit juice. Suddenly, water and milk were no longer good enough.  Then came the refusal to eat savoury items if there was any hint of sweet food within the vicinity.

Child eating large sweet

Bunny stuffs a bumble bee made of icing into her mouth. Just in case someone tries to take it!

Nowadays, I can reason with her and she will, usually, eventually, eat her breakfast/lunch/dinner.  It’ll take over half an hour and she drives us mad with her procrastination chatter.  But, she does pretty much eat most of it, until she claims that she’s full up. Then she’ll stuff her pudding down in seconds and ask for more, claiming she’s still hungry.  Strangely, if I suggest she finish her dinner, she suddenly isn’t though…!

Now, with Bear, we were more enlightened in our approach, taking the adage “Food for fun, until they’re one” as our mantra whenever it seemed as though she wasn’t eating much.  She didn’t have anything pureed and no baby rice passed her lips.  We waited until she was sitting by herself and was showing an interest in food before offering her tasters from our plates.  And she loved it, most of the time (although, not melon)!

Baby eating

Bear joins in with a picnic

However, as she gets closer to two, I’m seeing more of that stubbornness appear at meal times.  Breakfast is a battle unless she’s sat on my lap, eating with my spoon from my bowl.  If she’s asleep at lunchtime, she’ll not bother with lunch until much later in the afternoon, but mostly dinnertime is ok.  Unless there’s something sweet around!  On the rare occasion that Bunny eats her dinner quickly, she has to sit patiently waiting until Bear has finished before she can have dessert.  And god forbid we mention yoghurt, banana or anything else before Bear’s finished or she’ll throw her plate across the room and repeat it until we give it to her.

I have discovered that quite often she will go back to any leftovers (hers or her sister’s) after pudding and finish them off too, so at least she knows if she’s had enough or not, although I’m sure this won’t last much longer.

I really don’t want to make food a battle or an issue with either of the girls, but it is always such a struggle to get them just to eat the healthy food over the sweet things.  I’m trying to make sure there are always little healthy snacks available for them to pick on during the day if they want something, to try and move away from their need to snack on rubbish.  Yet I continue to worry that they might not be getting enough of the good stuff and may become fussy.

We all eat together for breakfast and dinner (and lunch at the weekend) and all have exactly the same food so that the girls are exposed to lots of different tastes and flavours.  For an easy life, I could give them fishfingers and chips or similar every night and they would eat them without question.  But I want them to have non-processed food as much as possible so will continue to fight them.  But for how long? When will dinner time be a pleasant experience without all of the current stress?  Or is it about to get worse as Bear gets older and more verbal and Bunny starts school properly and peer pressure takes its wicked hold?!  I would love to go out for a meal and actually enjoy it!  Am I alone here?

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7 comments on “Food Fight
  1. I have the same with my boys, that’s why I started the Bento style principle which led to my Bento Babies blog feature. It is definitely working they both are trying things I never dreamt they’d eat all through it’s presentation. I am blogging the red tasting platter I did in an ice cube tray next week. They ate pepperoni, raw prawns and goji berries for crying out loud! Marvellous! Hope it may help xx

  2. Mummy Zen says:

    Well, that all sounds a lot like my two children! They both go through phases of being good eaters and fussy eaters. When it’s the latter, I try to comfort myself with the fact that’s it’s just a fussy phase that will pass and it usually does. It is especially frustrating when they start refusing stuff they have previously eaten quite happily though!

    • mummysallygg says:

      Yes, yes, yes! That whole “I don’t like potatoes!” whine drives me insane when she’s been eating potatoes happily for 3 years! Feast or famine in our house!

  3. Cathie B says:

    I had exactly the same reaction. L ate everything as a baby and I did a combo of shop brought and my own concoctions. Thankfully we did not try daddy’s suggestion of blended pizza!!!! Now L won’t eat veg but as he loves fruit, he eats as much of this as possible and we let him. He loves chick nuggets and fish fingers so I tried making my own (first couple of attempts were NOT a success) but now as he’s older, we make them together, along with our own pizzas. It’s time consuming as I work FT and we do cheat and use ready meals and freezer food, but apart from the pox which he’s got at the moment, he’s happy, healthy and very energetic. You are doing a fab job by the sounds of things, and your kids certainly look well on it – they’re gorgeous xxx

    • mummysallygg says:

      Thanks for such a reassuring reply (and apologies for taking so long to respond!). I’m sure you’re right, but it’s sometimes hard to believe it when you’re caught in the midst of the whirlwind! Sounds like you’re doing brilliantly too! Hope he’s better by now and didn’t suffer too much!

  4. Food is always a bit of a difficult subject with children I feel – they either don’t eat enough, eat too much, eat the wrong thing… it becomes a minefield! And like you, I started feeding Grace more early on in the hope she’d sleep through the night – it didn’t work! I think I shall be more chilled if I have another one. Thank you for linking to PoCoLo xx

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